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Subject: Early Coronet
Filmed in what was then far suburban Chicago we see a young boy who is a slob apparently with "too much on his plate" and also in need of some Brylcream.
I was gagging over that putrid fish bowl with the dead tadpoles and just wanted to see that smelly mess go into the toilet. The shots of that thing were prolonged...I presume a psychological method to drive home the point that slovenliness is really quite distasteful.
I was never really convinced that Andy actually straigtenend out that colosssal mess in his room. I somehow think Mother did most of it.
Subject: Fit In Or Else
A nagging female narrator who sounds like the narrator of Habit Patterns goes after Andy, a sloppy little boy who lets his tadpoles die and leaves a camera under a pine tree. Fortunately, a talk with mom is all it takes to straighten him out. Teaching children to take care of their things is a good idea, but the way the film equates it with popularity and being liked is troubling. "Now everybody likes Andy!" the narrator tells us about the new, improved Andy. This is fifties group-think at its most heavy-handed. Do things to be not because they are right, but because you will fit in with the group and people will like you for it.
Subject: And, yet ANOTHER obsessive-compulsive is created.
A place for everything and everything in it's place! And, if you move one thing he will KILL you!
Subject: A bit more supervision
I think even for a film done in the early 1950's, the boy's mother should have supervised him a little more carefully at his age. (Feeding his pets,letting another boy in his house,etc.) Other than that it is a good film made for children to see.
Subject: Andy's Secret Present
Am I a bad person if I read a homoerotic subtext into Andy and Fred's interactions. The narrator sure wasn't helping.
And when the tadpoles died--BWAH!
Subject: And workin' overtime -- work out!
Refreshing look at a time when parents talked to their troubled children instead of pumping them full of behavor-modifying drugs. Also subliminaly endorses the notion that it's okay to hang around with people because of their material goods.
Also, maybe you shouldn't give a camera to a five year old.
Bonus points for senseless narration: reintroducing characters we've already met.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Taking Care of Things
Again, we're in the let's-shame-the-slob category. This starts out like Habit Patterns for 6-year-olds, as sloppy 1st-grader Andy is told, ÃÂÃÂIt's bad when your teacher is disappointed in you and you have no friends." All this over a broken pencil point. About halfway through it gets more reasonable, though, as Andy is told why it might be a good idea to pick up after himself. Andy eventually reforms and gets everything he was denied in the first part of the film, which may be a tad unrealistic, but a lot cheerier than Habit Patterns. Like most films of this type, this is great fun and easy to mst.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Campy Classroom Classics, Vol. 4.
Subject: DEAD TADPOLE ALERT!
This film, since it's made by Coronet, means that simple things are solved by doing stupid things. In this case Andy, who has the shoddiest looking 'bedroom' ever seen in a guidance film, just can't stop being a slob. Toys are left lying around, stuff is broken, and what's more, his tadpoles.. well, let the female narrator say it.. "Aw, they're dead!" She says it in a way like 'Who gives a darn" when dying pets are actually quite traumatizing to kids. (The site of dead tadpoles are sure to traumatize kids WATCHING this film too). Anyways Andy realizes the secret of CLEANING UP after himself, and soon he's like the most popular guy around. With his parents, his teacher, his friends. One again, conformity does wonders for your social skills!